Malawi court suspends wearing of wigs and gowns amid heatwave

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FILE: Pupils wait to see Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex Sussex as he arrives at the Nalikule College of Education on his tour of Africa on September 29, 2019. Some parts of Malawi have experienced up to 45 degrees Celsius./ Getty Images.

Malawi’s constitutional court has suspended its requirement that judges and lawyers don the traditional white wigs and black robes in the courtroom as the country experiences an early season heatwave.

The southern African country has experienced up to 45 degrees Celsius in some parts this week, according to the Department of Meteorological Services.

The requirement by Malawi courts that judges and lawyers wear the attires has been borrowed from the British legal system.

“It’s simple really. The heatwave this week meant that the gowns and wigs were uncomfortable,” Reuters quotes Chikosa Silungwe, a lawyer in Lilongwe.

The heatwave Malawi is experiencing has been attributed to climate change by some people.

Jolamu Nkhokwe, Malawi’s director of climate change and meteorological services, said that while a range of factors contribute to higher temperatures in the country, “the big suspect of this heatwave is climate change.”

“The (temperature) figures within their respective areas are higher than what is always expected during this time of the year,” as the southern hemisphere heads toward summer, he said.

Malawi’s ministry of health has issued a warning of heat risks and urged people to take precautions.

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